Lyle Jeffs, the 57-year-old former operations chief of the polygamous FLDS sect, was sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison for a massive fraud scheme involving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
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December 19, 2017 – In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Steward sentenced Jeffs to 3 years probation and required him to pay $1 million in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Jeffs in September pleaded guilty to running a fraud scheme involving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and for failure to appear as part of a plea deal.
Specifically, Jeffs church was accused of ordering other FLDS members to funnel millions in SNAP benefits into a communal store and other front properties, to be then controlled by the church leadership as they saw fit.
The U.S. Justice Department claimed that Jeffs stole almost $12 million from the SNAP program, while the defense alleged it was closer to $2 million.
“I acknowledge my mistake and my decision making and how it affected the law,” Jeffs told the judge. “I humbly accept responsibilities for my actions.”
Judge Steward released Jeffs to home confinement while awaiting trial, but in June 2016, he used olive oil to slip out of his ankle monitor and evaded authorities for nearly a year.
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